Inspiration is for Losers. Try this Instead.
There’s a movie you need to watch.
It’s inspiring on so many levels when it comes to creativity.
One of the clips that stood out was when the late Glenn Frey talked about Jackson Browne’s work ethic as a songwriter.
Unfortunately, you can’t find that particular clip on Youtube anymore. Somebody must’ve flagged it for copyright infringement but here’s the story:
They used to live together in Los Angeles in the ’70s and Frey remembers Jackson’s work ethic in an infuriating way.
The walls were thin so you could overhear what was going on from one room to the other. Emanating from Jackson Browne’s room at all times was incessant songwriting.
Hours of picking at the keys to get a verse down that he liked. Then a quick break, a reprieve for the neighbors. And then right back to it. Rinse and repeat. Song after song.
Frey was impressed with this because he was struggling with his own songwriting. Listening to Jackson Browne’s work ethic through the walls, Frey learned a valuable lesson. It wasn’t about waiting for inspiration to strike or for the muse to arrive. It was about forcing yourself to create, inspiration be damned.
The irony is that Jackson Browne was the inspiration. He was the muse that made Glenn Frey understand how creativity worked. He learned that there was no perfect set of circumstances that would open the creative floodgates. It was all about elbow grease. Getting up every day and doing it again. That’s how you create a body of work that lives on long after you’re gone.
Inspiration is a Myth.
Creativity is about hard work and dedication.
Inspiration is like that hot girl in high-school that kept you firmly in the friend zone. Yet, once in a while she got your hopes up so you stuck around as her faithful servant. No hormonal high-schooler wants to be stuck in the friend zone. But why do so many creatives feel comfortable being so powerless?
Inspiration appears randomly, whenever she wants. For a creative, that’s not a sustainable method to create a body of work. It’s not about waiting around hoping for creativity to occur. It’s about taking action to create something that makes you better at what you do.
That’s what creativity is. Blue collar work disguised as artistic endeavors. It requires a work ethic you’re in control of and a schedule you can stick to that produces a measurable output. Creating consistently is better than creating nothing at all, even if you don’ like what you’re creating at first. A terrible first mix is 100% better than a blank session. It’s a significant step towards progress.
You can’t hope to get more creative by only researching what others have done. You can’t become a better audio engineer by only reading about it, as ironic as that is to write. You have to mix. Some of it will be garbage, but so what?
A songwriter friend of mine says that you have to allow yourself to write bad songs to get to the good ones. You have to wade through the sea of trash to get to the good stuff on the other side.
It’s the same way with mixing. You get better at mixing by mixing. You don’t hope the Gods bestow it upon you because you read so many books about it.
At the end of the da, it’s your creativity that counts, not how articulate you are about other people’s creations.
At the end of the day, it’s the finished mixes that count.
But I understand that sometimes it’s hard to find songs to practice on.
That’s where the multi-track inside the Mixing With 5 Plug-ins course come in. The course doesn’t just teach you the fundamentals of mixing and how to get great mixes with the plug-ins you already have. I also give you the materials to practice so you can improve.
That’s what I think every up and coming mixing engineer needs:
A little bit of training, a little bit of inspiration and a whole lot of elbow grease.
Keeping Track, Music Mixing